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Chris and Craig celebrate season 3, discuss the results of the listeners poll (with a surprising reveal of their unconscious motivation for producing BFTA), offer their curated episode sampler plates, and then settle into a detailed deconstruction of the Psychedelic Somatic Therapy episode. BFTA on Instagram. @backfromtheabysspodcast https://www.in…
 
Saj Razvi returns to BFTA to share and discuss a mind-blowing audio recording of a ketamine-facilitated somatic therapy session. This session was from a recent training workshop with experienced trauma therapists, and Saj uses a somatic exercise-- staring into the client/participant's eyes- as a way to elicit a rapid and powerful transference react…
 
One of Craig's heroes is Dr. Irvin Yalom, a psychiatrist and writer— Yalom's books inspired him in the early years of learning to become a psychiatrist. Today’s story concept was sparked by Yalom's book “Every day gets a little closer—A twice told therapy.” To create this book, Yalom asked one of his long-term patients to keep a weekly diary of the…
 
The podcast Cover Story just released a series called Power Trip, an expose of the dark side of the psychedelic treatment world. The series highlights the stories of a few women, including the co-host, who were sexually assaulted in psychedelic treatment spaces….mostly in the underground, but also one woman who was abused by her therapist both duri…
 
Dr. H sits down with Dr. Usha Udupa, a Colorado-based child and adolescent psychiatrist, to explore the complexities of working with patients in the context of the family. They discuss topics such as: How and when family members should be included in treatment What if the patient refuses family involvement When the identified patient isn't the prob…
 
This is the second in our two part series on adoption and attachment wounds. Ridg and his girlfriend Rebecca got pregnant when he was 19, and they made the difficult decision to give their son up for adoption. Fast forward 16 years, and Ridg is 35, married to another woman, with their own biological children…and he’s about to have his world torn ap…
 
This is the story of Shae, who was adopted as a baby from South Korea and raised in Wichita Kansas in a family of Swedish descent. From her initial attachment wounds, subsequent heartbreak, and later a shocking revelation in late adolescence, Shae's inner light and resilience guided her to where she is today— a mother, a business owner, an adoptee …
 
Autumn was assigned male at birth, but she sensed from a very young age that something was not right. This is her journey through denial, awakening, and then transitioning both hormonally and surgically. Autumn brings a fascinating and thoughtful perspective to this whole arena of gender and identity, and she and Dr. H explore the various ways we m…
 
Dr. H distills down his 20 years of clinical experience into just under an hour of musings, lessons learned, and insights. "Sometimes the why really isn't crucial" (Essay from the NYT about addiction) https://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/19/health/psychology/19essa.html BFTA on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/backfromtheabysspodcast/ BFTA/ Dr. H htt…
 
Devin found out the hard way that psychedelics can have a very dark side. This is a story of discovery and of joy…of connection and dancing and jam bands….and it’s also a story of two psychotic breaks, sexual assault, and the eventual grinding realization that psychedelics demand respect. Devin speaks out so that others might avoid her mistakes and…
 
ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) has long been the last stop for severe and treatment resistant depression, but now there are at least two other good options for those who don't respond to meds and therapy. Dr. Dan Fisher, an ECT expert, founder of Colorado's Guerra Fisher Institute , and Craig's go-to psychiatrist for tough cases, joins BFTA to dis…
 
Expectation, set, setting, dosage, and route of administration provide the context and scaffolding for psychoactive drugs. An IV morphine drip can make unbearable pain completely manageable, while IV heroin, which is immediately converted to morphine once it crosses the blood brain barrier, destroys tens of thousands of lives a year. A benzodiazepi…
 
As we are now coming to realize the impressive potential of psychedelics to treat trauma and depression, we also have to face the fact that they are still illegal. This reality has led to an explosion of underground therapy, a Wild West where anyone can set up shop as a shaman or therapist or healer and the buyer must beware. Some people are findin…
 
Body dysmorphia is the disorder of imagined ugliness, a type of delusional OCD that can lead to severe depression, eating disorders, compulsive body alterations, and suicidality. As a young child, Georgina was a "cute kid", not particularly self-conscious, and able to move through her world without undue pain. With the onset of adolescence, however…
 
Doug Friedman, the co-host and producer of the podcast Your Mental Breakdown, contacted Craig last spring and said that he was ready and wanting to tell his abyss story-- that of his wife’s death and his journey of recovery thereafter. Doug has mentioned a number of times on his podcast that his wife passed away the same week in 2018 that he was di…
 
Here Craig sits down with Jeff Pincus, a nationally recognized couples therapist and trainer from Boulder, they explore why it’s so challenging to be an effective marriage therapist, why we are all destined to marry the wrong person (hint….our partners eventually become a mirror for us and our issues), and how marriage can be the most nourishing ye…
 
When psychiatric meds work well, it can be nothing short of miraculous. Yet so often, patients accumulate a long list of med failures, leading to a sense of deep frustration and even hopelessness. Here Dr. H explores five central reasons why psych meds fail: 1. Misdiagnosis, largely due to overlapping and confusing diagnostic categories and the gen…
 
An amazing healing journey deserves a detailed post-game analysis and deconstruction. Here Elizabeth, a participant in the MAPS MDMA study, sits down with Craig and co-therapist Karen Cooper to look back at what were the crux moves and essential ingredients that shifted Elizabeth's PTSD into remission. BFTA/Dr. H https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podc…
 
Craig sits down with LA-based Cuban American storyteller, author, BFTA super-advisor, and longtime dear friend Antonio Sacre to explore the art and power of storytelling, their personal abyss moments, friendship and vulnerability, and their shared love of air conditioning. Antonio Sacre https://www.antoniosacre.com BFTA https://www.craigheacockmd.c…
 
Life would be so much easier if we each came with an individual instruction manual, to both guide us and also warn us of how our inherited temperament and predilections might cause us great suffering. The first page of Emily's manual would have started with a capitalized bold face warning: "You are a highly sensitive soul, you will feel others' hur…
 
Just after starting his career, Dr. H met Matthew, a middle school student in the midst of a horrifying psychotic break. Here Dr. H sits down with Meg and Phil, Matthew's parents, to explore their 15 year journey of grief, acceptance, recovery, and eventually becoming a source of support, connection, and wisdom for other families on this brutal and…
 
12 step programs have helped millions of people, but they can't address everything. Randy got clean and sober and found a supportive community in AA....yet something was missing. He couldn't find peace, he couldn't connect in intimate relationships, he felt deeply broken and spiritually empty. It turns out that when Randy's little brother drowned w…
 
We're back!! Sometimes it's irresistible, necessary even, to lose ourselves into the greater collective, to become a honeybee buzzing with the ecstatic singular purpose of the hive. In this season 3 opener, Jamie tells Dr. H her story of trying to save herself by losing herself, then finally coming to face the fact that she had to plumb the depths …
 
In this final episode of season 2, Chris and Craig explore the highs and lows of the last year and plans for season 3. Craig discussing the psychedelic revolution in psychiatry on the Modern Therapist Survival Guide podcast https://therapyreimagined.com/modern-therapist-podcast/psychedelic-assisted-therapy/ BFTA https://www.craigheacockmd.com/podca…
 
Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, benzodiazepines, stimulants.....READY SET GO! Med cheat sheet SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)-- Prozac, Lexapro, Paxil, Celexa, Zoloft, Luvox, Trintellix, Viibryd-- They are generally NOT antidepressants Mainly helpful for OCD, body dysmorphia, panic (if not from trauma), depression…
 
How do you show up for others when you are facing the loss of everything you have ever known and loved? Here Leah Barrett, a Colorado-based psychotherapist, opens her heart and shares her story of managing the careful dance of witnessing her clients' pain and trauma while she faces her own unfolding medical nightmare. Leah and Craig explore this im…
 
What's the special sauce of psychological and psychiatric treatment? How do we change, particularly in relationship with others? Here Dr. Hillary McBride, a psychotherapist, researcher, author, and podcast host (Other People's Problems) opens up about the details of her years of psychiatric treatment, what worked (often surprising!), what did not, …
 
How can we stop the heartbreaking and horrific spiral of addiction? Dr. Jeremy Dubin, the Medical Director of Colorado's Front Range Clinic, sits down with Dr. H to discuss their top five things that actually work....and the five factors which most predict jails, institutions, and death. Dr. H and BFTA https://www.craigheacockmd.com…
 
BFTA takes a wild ride with Colorado based artist, writer, and video producer Ian Jaydid as he tells his double abyss story of lucid dreaming, out of body experiences, REM deprivation and transient psychosis....which then led to the blissful but ultimately destructive salve of opioids and a life changing encounter with the African psychedelic Iboga…
 
In the context of an increasingly severe shortage of psychiatrists, Dr. H discusses some uncomfortable truths about why finding a good outpatient psychiatrist is even more difficult than ever. Psychedelics and Psychiatry-- Dr. H on The Third Wave Podcast https://thethirdwave.co/podcast/episode-112-craig-heacock/ BFTA and Dr. H https://www.craigheac…
 
The therapeutic relationship is built on trust, we come to therapy expecting that we are going to be heard and believed. Jeanine wasn't believed-- about her childhood sexual assaults, or the emerging psychotic symptoms, or her intractable suicidality....even after many near fatal attempts and over 40 inpatient stays. This episode looks at how and w…
 
Some things in life defy explanation...like tripping on mushrooms and arresting the plunge into alcoholism. Here Stella shares her story of childhood abuse and neglect, her reenactment of the abuse through toxic relationships with men, and then her life-changing sessions with both psilocybin and MDMA. Stella and Dr. H explore how she was able to fi…
 
Dr. H sits down with Dr. David Puder, a psychiatrist and host of the Psychiatry and Psychotherapy podcast, to explore the beauty and challenge and mystery of psychotherapy. What are Chris and Craig wanting for Christmas...??? How about writing us a review! Dr. Puder and the Psychiatry and Psychotherapy podcast https://www.psychiatrypodcast.com Dr. …
 
In most specialties of medicine, the dictum "Diagnosis guides treatment" is the law of the land. In psychiatry, however, most of what we treat are often overlapping syndromes, not actual diseases, and these syndromes involve hugely varying dimensions of symptoms with a vast array of potential causes and exacerbating factors. Maggie came to Dr. H wi…
 
The podcast Psychedelics Today recently released a two part interview with Will Hall, an author, podcaster, therapist, and voice of the anti-psychiatry community. This BFTA episode came about after Dr. H reached out to the hosts of PT and asked for a counterpoint to Will's complete dismissal of psychiatry as a meaningful part of the mental health t…
 
Dr. H sits down with his friend Brian, who watched his daughter, and then his wife, plunge into the depressive abyss. This is the journey of a father and husband, of a "we can fix this" engineer trying to find a path through the ambiguity and uncertainty of psychiatric treatment. This is the second in an intermittent series of family members descri…
 
In this third of an intermittent series about therapists in the abyss, Dr. H sits down with his colleague Dr. Elena Estanol, a Colorado-based psychologist, to explore Elena's "fourth dark night of the soul". Her story serves as a springboard for exploring how to cope with the randomness of life, learning to go inward to heal relational wounds, diff…
 
After a difficult final year of high school, Tessa hoped and prayed that her youngest son would make the transition to college and find a way to thrive. He would be only an hour away, he wanted to go, and she was hopeful that getting a new start there could reverse whatever was happening to him. Yet just two months into his freshman year, it was ap…
 
Trauma embeds in the complex zone between body and spirit, deep within the realm of primary consciousness. The typical psychiatric approaches of meds and talk therapy rarely access these unconscious realms. In prior episodes of BFTA, we have heard accounts of healing these deep wells of trauma with EMDR, psilocybin, and MDMA-- this episode highligh…
 
In the first half of this two part mini-episode, Dr. H explores the four stages where fully dissociative doses of ketamine can get a little rocky: *reaching escape velocity *re-entry *dissociative shatter *post-session processing What if a psychiatrist were allowed to ask only one question at a session....what might that be? In the second part of t…
 
Saj Razvi (of Innate Path and Psychedelic Somatic Institute) returns to BFTA to help Craig do a deep dive into listener questions. Have questions you want us to address in a future episode? Email them via craigheacockmd.com or message on Twitter @bftapod Psychedelic Somatic Institute psychedelicsomatic.org Video showing somatic/primary consciousnes…
 
We typically think of addiction as a symptom of a deeper issue, such as trauma or a psychiatric disorder. Sometimes, however, addiction is the main event, and powerlessness is the starting point, not some ambiguous distant stop on the substance abuse train. Lena fell hard into addiction by sixth grade and by all rights should have been dead or impr…
 
Step inside Dr. H's office to eavesdrop on a therapy session with his patient Jasmine (from the Delta Flight Attendant episode in season 1). This session explores an extremely painful but ultimately transformative relationship that Jasmine had with a much older man just prior to starting therapy. Relationships are human growth machines, and Dr. H a…
 
Season 2 is here! We kick off our new season with Dr. H going deep into the immediate aftermath of losing four patients and his eventual path back into the light. Save this one for when you are in the right headspace. Dr. H and Back from the Abyss http://craigheacockmd.com On Twitter @bftapodBy Craig Heacock MD
 
Can a podcast have an identical twin separated at birth? If so, then "Inside Eyes" might possibly be that long lost twin of BFTA. Laura Mae Northrup is the creator of Inside Eyes and a trauma therapist in the Oakland area. She put a ton of work into these moving stories of healing from childhood sexual trauma with entheogens and psychedelics. She i…
 
Self-described podcast junkie Dr. H reached out to Sarah Buino, host of the excellent podcast Conversations with a Wounded Healer, and they agreed to do this super nifty episode swap, in which Sarah will feature a favorite BFTA episode on her show, and Dr. H chose a favorite episode to feature here. In this episode Sarah interviews one of the more …
 
BFTA's two co-conspirators sit down together for a look back at the first year-- the origin story, highlights, points of gratitude, mistakes made, Craig's most poignant/painful moment, the Enneagram, and Chris' desert island albums (no Meat Loaf!) Back from the Abyss https://www.craigheacockmd.comBy Craig Heacock MD
 
In this second of a two part exploration of OCD, Dr. H and Dr. Amy Indermuehle, a Colorado-based OCD expert, deconstruct Erin's treatment. Dr. Amy is a big fan of in vivo exposures, whether that be watching stomach-churning Youtube videos, touching forbidden items at Target, or riding out the anxiety wave in a public bathroom. Dr. Amy highlights ho…
 
The postpartum period is by far the most psychiatrically vulnerable time in a woman's life. Erin had always some some mildly annoying obsessive-compulsive tendencies, but they were never a major factor in her life, until just after her daughter was born. Almost immediately she was flooded with horrific violent images and urges, these then morphed i…
 
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